xi's moments
Home | Companies

Tycoon's rags-to-riches story echoes nation's rise

Late head of Wahaha Group remembered for innovative ideas, humble lifestyle, concern for others

By WANG ZHUOQIONG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-02-29 07:41

The Wahaha Group's rise mirrored strong growth nationwide, such as at this electronics factory in Dongguan, Guangdong province, where workers inspect computer hard drives on Sept 3,2009. FOTOE

Concern for others

Social responsibility was at the top of Zong's agenda.

Having personally experienced poverty and hardship, he remained deeply connected with less fortunate people. In 2020, the company allocated 942 million yuan to build over 1,360 apartments for their employees in Shangcheng district, Hangzhou.

In 2013, during the two sessions, the annual gatherings of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Zong, who was an NPC deputy, proposed establishing a tiered housing supply system to reduce housing costs. He also advocated exempting working-class people from paying personal income tax.

In 2020, when businesses in China encountered headwinds due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he called for enterprises to shoulder more responsibility to ensure the interests of employees are met and to keep employment steady.

Last year, he urged private enterprises to keep investing and developing their businesses to protect jobs.

Lily Xia, who operates a consultancy in Singapore for Chinese companies going overseas, said Zong had a deep impact on her personal and professional journeys. She began her career as a junior cashier with the Wahaha Group after graduating from a leading university in 1999.

When Xia won a running competition at the annual Wahaha Games, a corporate sports event, Zong presented her with a medal and gently patted her on the shoulder. "Keep going. You have great potential," he said. His words gave the young woman newfound confidence.

"He is a father to all of us, a guiding light," Xia said. "His sincerity, diligent work ethic and humble demeanor are inspirations for us as employees."

After four years with Wahaha, Xia was able to buy her first apartment in Hangzhou and pay for her MBA tuition fees in Singapore.

In 2012, Xia completed her overseas studies and later returned to work for Zong for a second time helping expand the group's international business.

Zong's real legacy was his ability to impart knowledge and values to his employees, teach them the importance of hard work and help others achieve their dreams, Xia said.

Ren Weifeng, a former secretary of Zong, said in a WeChat post that the businessman diligently looked at all the reports given to him. "Every night at nine, documents and reports would be printed out for him. With a pen, a pack of cigarettes and a cup of tea, he would review all the reports, making notes until midnight. The next morning, all departments would carry out their work according to his instructions. He did this every day," wrote Ren.






|<< Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6   
Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349